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Former Bunnys massage parlour backed to become bedsits

By Dayna Farrington | Smethwick | Property | Published:

Controversial plans to convert a former massage parlour into eight bedsits has finally been approved – after being deferred three times.

The well-known Bunnys club in Bearwood

The application to convert the former Bunnys sauna, in Bearwood, into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) was unanimously approved by Sandwell Council's planning committee on Wednesday.

Number 497 Hagley Road was once home to the club, previously known as Cuddles and labelled as ‘Birmingham’s hottest massage parlour’.

A decision on the plans had been deferred three times since August after councillors voted to conduct a site visit and yet again after planning officers failed to include details of police objections.

The committee heard at the meeting that the applicant stated the plans would improve the building which is going derelict.

Cuddles was raided back in 2005 by around 50 police officers, who rescued 19 foreign women from 10 different countries employed as sex workers.

Carl Pritchett, formerly of Holbeache Road in Wall Heath, Dudley, was then eventually jailed for running the business in 2006.

Bunnys started operating from the site in 2009, but relocated next door after it was seized by enforcement receivers under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In 2010 Pritchett was jailed for a further seven years after failing to repay £2 million in illegal gains, and in 2013 Cottons Estate Agents sold number 497 as part of a court order related to the money owed by Pritchett.

Bunnys eventually closed down in 2012 after it was shut by the council.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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